Share story

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The director of the state’s elections office said officials would like to certify the results of the recent primary election by Tuesday.

The Division of Elections, in a release earlier this week, said it would certify the election results on Saturday “as required by statute.” But division Director Josie Bahnke said by email Friday that was a target date, not one set by law.

“While the Division’s goal was to certify this weekend, we are working to ensure we give every detail the attention it needs to make sure Alaskans can feel fully confident in our final tally of the results,” she said in a release.

Samantha Miller, a spokeswoman for the division, said shooting for Saturday as the target earlier this week was premature.

A media packet distributed ahead of the Aug. 21 primary had listed Tuesday as the certification target.

The deadline for receiving and counting absentee ballots and for counting questioned ballots is 10 days after the primary; Bahnke noted that deadline was Friday.

She said election officials were waiting on absentee and questioned ballot materials from regional offices, which would be reporting on them Friday, to certify the election. Shipment of those materials was expected to be expedited, and officials planned to receive them Saturday so that a bipartisan board could review them.

Bahnke said officials also were waiting on a handful of precinct bags that include items such as voted ballots and precinct registers from rural areas. She said officials were working with the U.S. Postal Service “to help us contact the local post offices and get those expedited to Juneau.”

The review board planned to continue working over the weekend in Juneau, the division said.

Election officials previously reported irregularities with absentee ballots in a Republican state House race in Anchorage that pitted Republican Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux against Aaron Weaver, who did little or no campaigning.

Those issues included rejecting seven applications for absentee ballots after election workers found they had been made in the names of people believed to be dead.

The division earlier this week said that there were 26 suspect absentee ballots and that those have been referred to the Department of Law for further investigation.

Updated results Friday showed LeDoux, who has been at odds with her party over her decision to caucus with Democrats, with 455 votes compared to Weaver’s 339.

LeDoux said in a statement earlier this week that she has “never looked for ways to manufacture votes.” She said any ballot irregularities “were properly detected by the Division of Election. I would expect no less.”